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Tumbleweed431

Show Boat - A Revival of Racism

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I can't believe Turner Classic Movies is playing this racist movie. White actors in black face!! I have never seen such eye rolling, infantile, unintelligent behavior by white and black actors in my life!! I don't care that you consider this classic cinema. Throwing people to lions in a colosseum was once considered legitimate and classic entertainment. I am sure the ruling class could justify that too. This is totally unacceptable in 2009 and it has been for over 50 years. This is clearly an attempt at a revival of racism. Racism = Prejudice plus Power, which is why people of color can be prejudiced but not racist.

 

Please do not play this insulting piece of cinema again.

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So you're suggesting that TCM never run this film again.

 

This movie was made in an era when blackface and many of the things you are railing against were part of society and part of the culture.

 

You can't just put the film on the shelf and refuse to look it. That does a disservice to all. If we do not confront our past, how do we shape our future? *Showboat* was first a Broadway play. That play has been revived many times in the last 15 years. In fact, I believe it won a Tony in the 1990s for *Best Revival*. (Where are you, Chipsy?) Are you saying that the play should also be put on the shelf and never grace the playhouses of America again?

 

Censoring our past because it is unpleasant does us no good. Our past is there for us to learn from. You can draw a line from the injustices that we see on the screen in *Showboat* (black face, racist language, etc) and many other films from that generation to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. By watching movies like *Showboat* as well as films that were part of TCM's wonderful inaugural *Race and Film* series that highlighted this very subject, we get another look into why the Civil Rights movement was necessary and so important.

 

By sweeping films like this under the carpet and saying they shouldn't be shown, we deny our past and we deny all the good that came from fighting that past.

 

I'm not ready to deny Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, Diane Nash, James Farmer, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, those that took part in the Birmingham Bus Boycott, the Children's March and all the others that sacrificed (and those like Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner and Emmett Till and many others who lost their lives in doing so) to bring about destruction of Jim Crowe in this country.

 

Movies have the power to entertain us as well as tell us about who were as a nation and as a society. They have the power to show us how far we have come and how far we still have to go. They are much more than just entertainment. They can teach us that the lessons of the past were often racist and that bigotry has no place in this society.

 

And because of that, they should never been put on a shelf and never seen again.

 

Message was edited by: lzcutter because correct spelling is important.

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I get where you're coming from and I find these kinds of things offensive myself, but it is what it is for the times. That may not make it right, and if you think this is horrific, you should see Birth of a Nation, but TCM doesn't usually shy away from controversy, nor does it try to stir any up and has a wonderful AA historian, whose name eludes me at the moment, who usually sits with Mr. Osborne and discusses the very issues you brought up before and after a sensitive movie such as this plays.

 

The only folks who can answer you here are other members, unless the WebAdmin jumps in. But if you'd like to contact TCM directly, here's the link.

 

http://www.tcm.com/support/

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*"Please do not play this insulting piece of cinema again."*

 

History - especially cultural history - is not always pretty. But that doesn't mean it isn't important. I guess you missed the introduction where John Landis acknowledged as much in his opening remarks.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Maybe next time they can have Whoopi apologize before they air it. Like WB did for the Bugs Bunny DVD releases. @@

 

Don't worry OP. Obie is the head guy these days. Black face white guys ARE history and that is all.

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*but TCM doesn't usually shy away from controversy, nor does it try to stir any up and has a wonderful AA historian, whose name eludes me at the moment, who usually sits with Mr. Osborne and discusses the very issues you brought up before and after a sensitive movie such as this plays.*

 

GG,

 

I think you are referring to Donald Bogle who co-hosted with Robert Osborne the first *Race and Film* series that focused on *Black Images on Film* in May of 2006. Bogle is a respected African-American film historian and some of his interstitials still play on TCM. It was the inaugural season of *Race and Film* and was so successful that it has become an annual series on TCM. Past entries include *Gay Images* and *Asian Images*. Upcoming in May is *Latin Images*.

 

However, in the case of *Showboat* tonight, the film was one chosen by Guest Programmer John Landis who provided the intro and outro with Robert O. As Kyle in Hollywood pointed out, Landis provided commentary that placed the film in a proper perspective.

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If we start to eliminate movies from the past because of today's social correctness (or however you want to call it) then we might as well destroy most all of them. We might as well eliminate "Gone With The Wind" since it sympathizes with the South and naturally the South wanted to maintain slavery. And we also loath the character of "Mammy" with her perennial rag on the head and slang.

Lets also get rid of "The Jazz Singer". Even though it's a landmark film and known as the birth of the talkies it portrays a Jewish man in blackface. Both versions of "Imitation Of Life" should be banned along with "Birth Of A Nation". We should also destroy the "Our Gang" shorts since they also portray blacks in an unflattering manner.

Don't stop there! What about movies which glorify war and movies which show war from the German side? We also should get rid of all westerns which glorify the American cowboy and show the American Indian as a "scalper". We should also get rid of any movies which show gays as "pansies" (ie. Franklin Pangborn). Any movies showing overweight people in an unflattering way should also be banned. And on and on and on.

Naturally I'm being sarcastic. These movies need to be taken in the proper context. They are a part of history. Most of us I would assume are intelligent enough to know that they are not always flattering to certain groups but we can still watch them without getting so outraged. Lighten up!!

I have watched "Showboat" several times and never once did I get all hell-bent and angry. It is a musical based on a popular play and so I enjoy it for the music, singing and dancing.

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Yes, Bogle, that was the gentleman's name.

 

I have a very good AA (African American) friend and I know these kinds of movies upset him very much, so I can understand why it irks some people and I can feel for them. If they are new to TCM, they may not have caught all those specials on race in the movies and not understand where they're coming from and why they are still being shown.

 

We don't know if the poster is AA or not, but nonetheless, the movie struck an unharmonious cord in them, and well it should. Thank God we've come to a time in history where that kind of image is appalling! You and I discussed peoples approach to a situation, so you know my take on things doesn't always go with the flow and the so-called norm.

 

I didn't watch Show Boat tonight. I've seen it many times, so I didn't know if anyone was there or not to go through the formalities of explaining the movie and the times. I guess if the poster did hear it from Landis, well, I can see why they may not accept him as a speaker for the AA view of this movie.

 

However, I hope the poster will not be turned off to TCM because of this flick. TCM has a lot to offer viewers if they give them a chance.

 

I know I'm not a representative of TMC, I'm like the rest of you here, a member, albeit new, but I'm always willing to discuss this issue with an open mind and understanding of the other guy's feelings.

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> {quote:title=Tumbleweed431 wrote:}{quote}

> I can't believe Turner Classic Movies is playing this racist movie. White actors in black face!! I have never seen such eye rolling, infantile, unintelligent behavior by white and black actors in my life!! I don't care that you consider this classic cinema. Throwing people to lions in a colosseum was once considered legitimate and classic entertainment. I am sure the ruling class could justify that too. This is totally unacceptable in 2009 and it has been for over 50 years. This is clearly an attempt at a revival of racism. Racism = Prejudice plus Power, which is why people of color can be prejudiced but not racist.

>

> Please do not play this insulting piece of cinema again.

 

Novelist Edna Ferber and Jerome Kern, who wrote the musical show's songs, were anything but racists. In fact, the story and songs' real purpose is to expose the scourge of racism (check out Ferber's condemnation of anti-Latino bias in GIANT sometime).

 

You, on the other hand, apparently can't see beyond the surface, which is rather sad. Not only should TCM show this great film again, they should show it often.

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The title of this thread is hilarious (in a bad way.) Show Boat-A Revival of Racism. Like racism went away and only came back because TCM showed a 70+ year old film that had some questionable scenes of blackface.

 

The OP needs to get in the real world. I'm probably going to draw some wrath for this, but I live in the South and there is still plenty of racism to go around--and I doubt that most people around these parts have even seen this movie. I know I'm just reiterating what everyone else is saying, but it's just a movie which happened to be set in the Reconstruction era of the South. It may be a comment on racism (which others here know more about special meanings of scenes or direction) but I look at it as a good movie, with good performances with some great songs. But I'm a white middle aged woman--what do I know.

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Show Boat is not just entertaining, it's rather educational. As others have said, it contains a lot of important information about this society's past culture which we can learn from.

 

But to lzcutter, I am curious, what does "interstitial" mean, in the context of your post?

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*But to lzcutter, I am curious, what does "interstitial" mean, in the context of your post?*

 

Meanie,

 

I was referring to the promos and short documentary pieces that play between the movies.

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smokey15 I like your well written common sense reply. Let me add that even Walt Disney has even become a target of racism.

http://www.cracked.com/article_15677_9-most-racist-disney-characters.html

 

Should we ban them as well. Have we as a society have become too over sensitive about knocking anything remotely racist in movies, comics. evem political satire like the chimpanzee cartoon in the New York Post. (that thing would have been completely forgot about the next day if no one protested). How many people downloaded that cartoon during and after the controversy?

 

Now here is a twist, Hollywood has become so over politically correct, they are rewriting history which can cause confusion for future generations who wants to understand the evils of racism. One perfect example is the Disney remake of "Annie". Since when or WHERE in the US did any orphanage allowed minorities in during around the time period of 1933? Did Disney *forgot* about segregation during that time?

 

Here is a perfect solution, if anyone don't like a movie for its content - *DON'T WATCH IT!* Don't allow censorship deny other people the right to see a movie like "Show Boat" if they desire.

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Seems silly, this controvercy! Reviving Racism. How can this film revive Racism? Are they not giving this picture more credit for influence than it deserves. There is only one scene of blackface and that is done on a stage as an act which was common at the time. Joe is called lazy and no good only by is nagging wife, not by any white person He is very heroic in this movie. Otherwise it depicts blacks as hard working while still being exploited. Paul Robeson has a dignity and nobility and is a strong screen presence. If it is embarrasing to see them shuffling and dancing to Can't Help Lovin Dat Man, then watch the dancing on any current video on the other channels, where 's the difference? Yes, it depicts the racism that was part of _that_ time. A previous post mentioned the "Our Gang" comedies as being racist. Has any one taken note that the black kids and white kids play together harmoniously? Now please bring back Al Jolson (but something else besides The Jazz Singer). Then we can really have a heated discussion. Although Jolson was never a racist as evidenced by his treatment of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, and his alledged preference for Black and Asian women.

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The original post was over a week ago; the original poster has not responded to this thread, nor has he/she/it posted anywhere else in these forums. As with similar threads in the past, people get inflamed while the original poster probably sits back and laughs while we start calling each other names.

 

Can we now discuss The Giant Claw ? That film is clearly anti-bird. For crying out loud, the scientists don't even have a hunting license when they shoot it down. Why doesn't PETA protest this film? They can start by having Pamela Anderson pose nude the next time the film shows on TCM.

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> They can start by having Pamela Anderson pose nude the next time the film shows on TCM.

 

Then the crazies really will come out..... :)

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I have wondered how will people 50 - 80 years from now view *our* movies made between the 1980's - 2009 and have critical opinions about it? That is, they may see something offensive in which we think is normal and demand those scenes or movies be banned or editied.

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> I have wondered how will people 50 - 80 years from now view *our* movies made between the 1980's - 2009 and have critical opinions about it? That is, they may see something offensive in which we think is normal and demand those scenes or movies be banned or editied.

 

Maryland to change state song so that the state officially no longer calls people living North of Maryland ?northern scum?:

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/03/24/national/a142734D34.DTL

 

http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/bills/hb/hb1241f.pdf

 

Note, words in brackets are to be removed. Words in all caps are to replace the original lyrics of ?Maryland, My Maryland?.

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Guest

Anyone who has ever actually seen SHOW BOAT knows that the entire storyline is about anti-racism and tolerance. The fact that the 1936 version features Irene Dunne in black face is irrelevant to any argue for racism since the minstrel shows of the era utilized black face. SHOW BOAT is only showing us a time gone by.

 

Arguments that Paul Robeson and Hattie McDaniel play characters that are derogatory are lame because they are only playing characters who would have been common in the South in post Civil War years.

 

History is history, and it cannot be filtered thru our contemporary sensitivities.

 

Rather than harp on the perceived racism, why not just enjoy the glorious music of Jerome Kern and the stellar performances of Dunne and Robeson and McDaniel.... and don't forget Helen Morgan singing "My Bill."

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